The European Parliament, the European Commission and the Court of Justice of the European Union each have an interpretation service, but the selection of freelance interpreters is carried out jointly.
Freelance interpreters routinely work alongside staff interpreters in the interpreting services of the European Parliament, European Commission and Court of Justice. We mainly work in the 24 official languages of the EU, but occasionally we provide interpretation in other languages as well. For freelance interpreters, there is no nationality requirement.
To become a freelance interpreter, you need to succeed an accreditation test. You will find all relevant information on the various steps of the test cycle here. The calendar will show you upcoming accreditation tests for your language.
You need one of the following:
BA in Conference Interpretation (4 years)
MA in Conference Interpretation
BA in any subject and
a Post-graduate diploma in Conference Interpretation of at least one academic year of full-time study
at least one year of professional experience (documented evidence of at least 100 days worked) as a conference interpreter at the level required for international meetings (experience as a court interpreter, liaison interpreter, public service interpreter or company interpreter does not count).
Have a language combination that is in line with the required accreditation profiles.
Check the current language profiles required by the EU interpreting services. These are subject to change, to reflect prevailing recruitment needs.
Have not failed an accreditation test three times (failure to attend without a justified reason counts as a fail). Except if the interest of the services so requires, before a fourth (and each subsequent) application can be accepted, a waiting period of five test years shall apply.
Tests are scheduled as necessary, according to the recruitment needs of the institutions. An indicative calendar of accreditation tests is published every year but may be subject to change.
3. Accreditation Test
If your application is considered eligible, you will be invited to take the accreditation test.
The accreditation test involves the following for each of the tested languages:
Consecutive interpretation of a speech (± 6 minutes)
Simultaneous interpretation of a speech (10-12 minutes)
You will be tested from your passive languages into your active language and/or retour; the Screening Committee will choose the tested languages from your declared language combination, in compliance with the language profiles required for accreditation needs. In the 2022-2023 test year, both consecutive and simultaneous tests will take place in remote, via a remote testing platform.
You will first be invited to record the simultaneous performances for all the tested languages; only if you are successful in the simultaneous part will you then be invited to sit the consecutive test(s).
An Inter-institutional Selection Board will evaluate your performances on the basis of the marking criteria. You will be receiving the result in writing including an indication of the level of your performance on each of the marking criteria.
4. Entry into joint database
Successful candidates in the accreditation test are put into the joint database of accredited Conference Interpreting Agents (ACIs) and can be recruited by the three interpretation services of the European Union.
Admission into the joint database does not imply a right to be recruited.
Now that you know everything about the different steps, complete the online application.
You will be asked to submit:
degrees and/or diplomas giving details of qualifications obtained for each interpreting component;
where relevant, proof of required conference interpreting experience (experience as a court interpreter, liaison interpreter, public service interpreter or company interpreter will not be taken into account);
for languages not covered by the degree(s) or diploma(s), evidence of how the language knowledge was acquired should be submitted (such as certificates or a personal statement).
Once you have done this, you will be sent an acknowledgement of receipt.
You can apply at any time but we advise you to check specific deadlines per A language on the indicative test calendar. It is important that you submit all necessary documents by the given deadline for applications.
Frequently Asked Questions
EU staff interpreters are recruited through competitions. The EU Careers website (EPSO) will provide you with further information on open competitions.
More information is available from EU Careers (EPSO), as well as the three translation departments of the EU.
You must prove your experience as a conference interpreter in both simultaneous and consecutive interpreting at the level required for international meetings for a total of at least 100 days.
Acceptable proof of experience includes:
Photocopies of contracts
Statements from your employers specifying the number of days and types of conferences (indicating the number of days worked in consecutive and/or simultaneous mode)
Letters of reference specifying the number of days and nature of duties
Photocopies of invoices with a clear description of the type of work
Experience as a court interpreter, liaison interpreter, public service interpreter or company interpreter does not count as experience in conference interpreting. Professional experience only stated on a CV is not sufficient. In addition, all necessary supporting documents should be in your file by the application deadline (see calendar).
Interpreters with Serbian, Bosnian and Montenegrin A languages will only be granted inter-institutional accreditation on the basis of an inter-institutional test.
The status of interpreters already on the list will stay the same. Any change to active or passive languages will be made in line with current procedures. Recognition of Croatian, Serbian, Bosnian and Montenegrin as additional C languages may be considered on a case-by-case basis with evidence provided the candidate already has one of these languages as C in their combination. If you have any questions about this email us.
No, you can only be registered with one A language. If you have already applied, you can change your A language by emailing us.
Once you have uploaded your file, you will be sent an acknowledgement of receipt.
Screening Committee will assess your application and determine whether your documents are adequate. You can edit or upload documents to your profile at any time on your application. However, the Screening Committee will only take account of the documents uploaded by the given deadline for applications.
It is your responsibility to ensure:
the quality of the uploaded file
your language combination is mentioned on an official document (if not mentioned on the diploma, we advise you to include a diploma supplement)
your interpreting exam qualifications are present in the file
your knowledge and level of languages which are not covered by a diploma are duly documented (e.g. certificates or personal statements).
If you are in your last year of studies, but have yet to receive your final diploma in conference interpreting, you must upload an official certificate from your university stating that you have passed the final interpretation exams.
If you still have to take your interpreting exams, you must upload a certificate of enrolment or proof that you are finishing your degree. At least two weeks before the day of the test you must upload an official certificate of your university that you succeeded the final interpreting exams.
If you are successful in the accreditation test, you will not be accredited until you submit a copy of your final diploma.
If your application is considered eligible, any information on your invitation for an accreditation test will be sent to your online account by the Inter-institutional Test Office located in the European Commission. Make sure you check it regularly.
You will receive the required technical specifications, and before the simultaneous part you will be invited to do a mock test; the mock test is compulsory and will permit you to familiarize yourself with the tool and check whether you fulfil the technical requirements.
It is your responsibility to check also your e-mail account for important notifications – ensure that the address 'firstname.lastname@example.org' is not treated as spam.
All tests will be organised in remote via a remote testing platform. You will first be invited to record the simultaneous performances for all the tested languages; only if you are successful in the simultaneous part will you then be invited to sit the consecutive test(s). Candidates invited to the consecutive tests will be e-mailed by the European Parliament. Please make sure that the address LINC.email@example.com is not treated as spam.
Each test component is eliminatory. Depending on the results of the deliberation, the Selection Board may thus decide to stop the evaluation after the first test performance; this holds for both the simultaneous and the consecutive part.
If you are not successful in the simultaneous part, and otherwise following the consecutive part, you will receive the results in writing including feedback, which will enable you to understand how you performed on each of the evaluation criteria.
Different arrangements may apply to tests for non-EU languages.
The Screening Committee decides which languages will be tested, selecting them from the languages that you declared in your application. This choice cannot be modified. Please note that, for organisational reasons, the order of the languages tested is fixed and cannot be changed.
Please declare your disability using the form provided on the online application, including any need for special assistance or equipment for either the consecutive or the simultaneous test.
Every effort will be made to make arrangements for you to be tested in the best possible conditions, while maintaining parity between candidates.
Selection Boards are composed of staff conference interpreters from the three interpreting services of the EU Institutions (European Commission, European Parliament and Court of Justice of the European Union) trained for that purpose. Depending on the language combination tested, there might be other interpreters involved as assessors to assist the Selection Board in its evaluation.
You may submit a request for review via the form provided in the online account. The requests for review should be motivated and must be sent within 10 calendar days of (and including) the date when the letter with the decision of the Screening Committee, or of the Selection Boards, is sent to you online.
You cannot challenge the assessment of the relevance of your qualifications or professional experience or the quality of your performance in the test. This assessment is a value judgement and, therefore, a review request submitted on this basis will not lead to a positive outcome.
Mere requests for additional feedback will not be treated as a request for review; they will be rejected and no further feedback provided by Selection Boards.
Any communication in this context should be directed to the Test Office; please refrain from engaging in direct, individual communication with members of the Screening Committee or the Selection Board.
Yes, you may re-apply for a test, if you have not failed an accreditation test three times (failure to attend without a justified reason counts as a fail). Except if the interest of the services so requires, before a fourth (and each subsequent) application can be accepted, a waiting period of five test years shall apply.
If you have been successful in all the interpreting components of your test and have fulfilled all administrative conditions, you will be added to the list of ACI interpreters accredited to the European Institutions. Accredited ACIs are offered contracts according to the needs of each Institution. Please note that inclusion on the list of accredited interpreters is no guarantee of recruitment.
No. Recruitment to a permanent staff post is only possible via competitions.
The European Institutions offer many resources to practise interpreting:
Legal and financial documents
The French version takes precedence over all other languages. This is because all parties have signed the French version.
Memo on the implementation of Annex 1 to the Agreement on working conditions and Financial terms for conference interpreting agents (ACI) and Freelance Interpreters (FLI) recruited by the institutions of the European Union
ACI Status on the Joint List
Social Media European Parliament
Social Media European Commission
Court of Justice of the European Union